What is needed for an optimal nexus system

Published on
January 31, 2018

Water, energy and food are inextricably linked. This is the so-called ‘nexus’. There is growing recognition that an approach is needed that considers the interactions between water, food and energy, while taking into account the synergies and trade-offs that arise from the management of these three resources.

The nexus is not a mature concept and there is room for developing further insights. The nexus’ strength lies in implementing a multi-sectoral, multi-stakeholder process. Given that the nexus is still largely water-sector driven, the inclusion of other sectors (e.g. food and energy) is crucial for the further development of the nexus approach.

WUR has executed a quick scan to answer the following questions: Is the nexus concept sufficiently developed to be used for evidence based analyses to support the water related policy of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, where the main focus is on food policy? What are the essential elements of water, food security and energy to optimise the nexus system?


Thus resulting in the following recommendations (shortened):

Governance oriented

Knowledge oriented

Overall recommendations

-     Recognition that implementation of the nexus approach is a ‘country, region, watershed, landscape’-driven and owned process (this calls for a ‘long-term’ relationship)
-     Recently acquired nexus insights, starting but not limited to water, food and energy.
-     Established development goals for the chosen area Political will of the prospective partner
-     Existing ‘silos’ and related ongoing plans and programmes are to be respected
-     Building on Dutch strengths, expertise and interest